Watch how two musicians recreated a legendary minimalist composition using a synth orchestra

Music for 18 Machines is a reimagining of Steve Reich’s classic 1974 minimalist work Music for 18 Musicians, only arranged for 18 synthesisers instead of the 18 acoustic instruments used in the original.

Music for Machines

Watch how two musicians recreated legendary minimalist composition Music for 18 Musicians using an orchestra of synth.

The homage was convinced by musicians Simon Cullen (Lasertom, Ships), and Neil O’Connor (also known as Somadrone), who undertook the mammoth task to perform it in Dublin on the 40th anniversary of Steven Reich’s masterpiece (and his 80th birthday).

The original Music for 18 Musicians is one of David Bowie’s top 25 albums of all time, which should be reason enough to give it a listen. If not, then the fact that it is one of the most influential pieces of musical minimalism ever composed should tip it over the edge of interest.

The original piece was composed by Reich between 1974 and 1976. Here’s what the creators of the synth-reimagining have to say about it:

Music for 18 Machines is a reimagining of Steve Reich’s 1976 modernist classic Music for 18 Musicians. Reich’s work is a blueprint of the minimalist movement, an exploration of pattern and process which morphs into a psychoacoustic experiment that posits the question ‘what happens when a group of musicians are asked to perform like machines?’

Music for 18 Machines reverses this process somewhat and seeks to coax an expressive and emotive performance from 18 electronic instruments triggered by a single sequencer.

Watch the mini-doco about the creation of Music for 18 Machines below: